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  • First Haiti, then Iraq?

    Bring the boys home from Iraq. There is no happy ending in sight.

    Reality 1, Neocons 0
    by William S. Lind

    The Marines have landed, and the situation is not well in hand, nor will it ever be. I am speaking, of course, of Haiti, that boil on the Western Hemisphere’s posterior which no plaster can ever cure. In the 18th century, Haiti was so rich, thanks to the sugar trade, that it alone provided two-thirds of the value of France’s overseas commerce. Today, Haiti is so poor that the average American dog probably lives better than the average Haitian.

    But I forget: just ten years ago, we solved all of Haiti’s problems. Applying the neo-cons’ prescription for the whole world, we sent in thousands of American troops, overthrew the "undemocratic" Haitian government and installed Haiti’s Mr. Chalabi, Monsieur Aristide – the same savior who just departed, with Washington’s encouragement, to the universal anthem of the Third World’s elite, "I’m Leavin’ on a Jet Plane." For some incomprehensible reason, democracy backed by American bayonets failed to turn Haiti into Switzerland. It’s probably because we forgot to teach them how to make cuckoo clocks and put holes in cheese.

    Haiti is in fact a fair test of the neo-cons’ thesis, a thesis we are now putting to further trials in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their core argument is that history and culture simply don’t matter. Everyone in the world wants American-style "democratic capitalism," and everyone is also capable of it. To think otherwise is to commit the sin of "historicism."

    The argument is absurd on the face of it. History and culture don’t matter? Not only do the failed cultures and disastrous histories of most of the world argue the contrary, so does our own history and culture. Democratic capitalism first developed in one place, England, over an historical course that goes back almost a thousand years, to the Magna Carta. America was born as an independent country to guarantee the rights of Englishmen. If England had possessed the culture of, say Mongolia, can anyone with the slightest grasp on reality think we would be what we are today?

    While the neo-cons’ thesis says nothing about reality, it says a great deal about the neo-cons themselves. First, it tells us that they are ideologues. All ideologies posit that certain things must be true, regardless of any evidence to the contrary. That evidence is to be suppressed, along with the people who insist on pointing to it. Sadly, the neo-cons have been able to do exactly that within the Bush Administration, and the mess in Iraq is the price.

    Second, it reveals the nature of the neo-con ideology, which has nothing whatsoever to do with conservatism (as Russell Kirk wrote, conservatism is the negation of ideology). The neo-cons in fact are Jacobins, les ultras of the French Revolution who also tried to export "human rights" (which are very different from the concrete, specific rights of Englishmen) on bayonets. Then, the effort eventually united all of Europe against France. Today, it is uniting the rest of the world against America.

    Finally it reveals the neo-cons as fools, lightweights who can dismiss history and culture because they know nothing of history or culture. The first generation of neo-cons were serious intellectuals, Trotskyites but serious Trotskyites. The generation now in power in Washington is made up of poseurs who happen to have the infighting skills of the Sopranos. If you don’t believe me, look at Mr. Wolfowitz’s book. Or, more precisely, look for Mr. Wolfowitz’s book (hint: he never wrote one).

    Perhaps it was America’s turn to have its foreign policy captured by a gang of ignorant and reckless adventurers. It has happened to others: Russia before the Russo-Japanese War, Japan in the 1930’s. The results are seldom happy.

    Before we get ourselves into any more neo-con led follies, we should apply their thesis to a simple test: send them to Haiti and see if they can make a go of it, after the U.S. Marines pull out. If they can, I’ll put my money in a Haitian bank.

    March 3, 2004

    William Lind is Director of the Center for Cultural Conservatism at the Free Congress Foundation.

  • #2
    Great article. I couldn't have said it any better!

    Thanks for posting it, King!

    History and culture don’t matter? Not only do the failed cultures and disastrous histories of most of the world argue the contrary, so does our own history and culture.
    Number one on my list of reasons NOT to occupy Iraq with the goal of democratization!
    Norman Chad, syndicated columnist: “Sports radio, reflecting our sinking culture, spends entire days advising managers and coaches, berating managers and coaches, firing managers and coaches and searching the countryside for better middle relievers. If they just redirected their energy toward, say, crosswalk-signal maintenance, America would be 2 percent more livable.”

    "The best argument against democracy," someone (Churchill?) said, "is a five minute conversation with the average voter."

    Comment


    • #3
      All ideologies posit that certain things must be true, regardless of any evidence to the contrary. That evidence is to be suppressed, along with the people who insist on pointing to it. Sadly, the neo-cons have been able to do exactly that within the Bush Administration, and the mess in Iraq is the price.
      Truer words were never spoken. Thanks for posting that, King. Just more evidence that what we are attempting to do in Iraq is wrong and doomed to fail.
      “I’ve always stated, ‘I’m a Missouri Tiger,’” Anderson said March 13 after Arkansas fired John Pelphrey, adding, “I’m excited about what’s taking place here.”

      Asked then if he would talk to his players about the situation, he said, “They know me, and that’s where the trust comes in.

      Comment


      • #4
        the idea of a democratic iraq is a fallacy...if they had their druthers, they would probably be three seperate countries. but we're imposing our will upon them. nothing democratic about that.
        Are you on the list?

        Comment


        • #5
          Anyone notice the deafening "silence" of the Bush apolologists? :o
          Norman Chad, syndicated columnist: “Sports radio, reflecting our sinking culture, spends entire days advising managers and coaches, berating managers and coaches, firing managers and coaches and searching the countryside for better middle relievers. If they just redirected their energy toward, say, crosswalk-signal maintenance, America would be 2 percent more livable.”

          "The best argument against democracy," someone (Churchill?) said, "is a five minute conversation with the average voter."

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Razzy@Mar 3 2004, 07:42 AM
            All ideologies posit that certain things must be true, regardless of any evidence to the contrary. That evidence is to be suppressed, along with the people who insist on pointing to it. Sadly, the neo-cons have been able to do exactly that within the Bush Administration, and the mess in Iraq is the price.
            Truer words were never spoken. Thanks for posting that, King. Just more evidence that what we are attempting to do in Iraq is wrong and doomed to fail.
            What's scary is beyond that they did it - it's that they are so arrogant that they can't admit the effed up.
            Dude. Can. Fly.

            Comment


            • #7
              Come on guys, just because the defenders of this administration are so quick to jump on failed policies of the democratic party, lets not us jump on the failures of dubya.
              OH Hell.
              I guess when you use your own tax money on your own people it's a handout or throwing it away, but when you throw money and guns, and our peoples lives at nation building someplace we are not even wanted that's another story.
              Be passionate about what you believe in, or why bother.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by dvyyyyyy+Mar 3 2004, 07:57 AM-->
                QUOTE(dvyyyyyy @ Mar 3 2004, 07:57 AM)

              • #9
                Thanks, King.

                Agreed that soooner is better than later for the death of this doomed doctrine.
                "Regime change" would be quickest.

                Moe
                The Dude abides.

                Comment


                • #10
                  Iraqi Shiites Decry U.S. After Bombings
                  2 minutes ago

                  By TAREK AL-ISSAWI and JIM KRANE, Associated Press Writers

                  KARBALA, Iraq - Shiite Muslim mourners chanted slogans against the United States Wednesday, venting their anger at Iraq (news - web sites)'s instability after a series of suicide bombings against pilgrims. As the country began three days of mourning, officials said 15 people, some possibly Iranians, had been detained in the attacks.

                  U.S. administrators lowered their death count from 143 to 117, a senior coalition official said Wednesday. Iraq's Health Ministry said 185 people died. Estimates of the wounded ranged from 300 to more than 400.

                  Also Wednesday, three rockets hit a telephone exchange building in Baghdad, knocking out international phone service for much of the country only days after the system was put back in service. One Iraqi worker was killed and another injured, Iraqi officials said.

                  Restoring telephones knocked out during the U.S. invasion last year has been a priority as U.S. forces trying to bring back some normalcy amid the continuing violence.

                  Tuesday's near-simultaneous bombings struck pilgrims gathered at Baghdad's Kazimiya shrine and holy sites in Karbala to mark Ashoura, the holiest day of the Shiite calendar. The attacks coincided with anti-Shiite bombings that killed 41 victims in Pakistan.

                  The attacks forced the delay of a key milestone in the U.S. handover schedule — the planned Thursday signing of an interim constitution.

                  U.S. and Iraqi officials pointed to an al-Qaida-linked Jordanian militant, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, as a "prime suspect" in the attacks, saying he aims to spark a Shiite-Sunni civil war in Iraq. Many Iraqis, including Shiites, have also blamed foreigners — throwing suspicion on al-Qaida.

                  U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, could not rule out possible connections between the bombings in Iraq and Pakistan. At this point, though, one official said, there isn't any evidence indicating the attacks were coordinated.

                  As authorities slowly identified the dead, relatives picked up their slain loved ones from Karbala's Al-Hussein hospital Wednesday. Others wept as they scanned handwritten lists of names posted on the hospital walls. Iranian pilgrims, speaking in Farsi, struggled to communicate with the Iraqi hospital officials.

                  Several thousand joined a funeral procession in the afternoon, taking three bodies to the tombs of the Islamic saints Imam Hussein and Imam Abbas for blessings before heading to bury them at the cemetery in this city 50 miles south of Baghdad.

                  "No, no, Americans! No, no Israel! No, no, terrorists!" they chanted, carrying red, black and green flags, symbols of martyrdom traditional for Ashoura ceremonies.

                  Iraqi leaders have worried about Shiite revenge attacks against Sunnis and pleaded with the public to maintain unity.

                  But the focus of Shiite anger has been directed more at the U.S.-led occupation. Some, including the top Shiite cleric, accused U.S. officials of not doing enough to protect the 10-day Ashoura ceremonies; others simply vented resentment over the country's continuing insecurity.

                  The coalition official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said 15 people were detained in Karbala after the blasts and nine were in Iraqi custody. The others, held by coalition forces, included four Farsi speakers thought to be Iranians, the official said. An estimated 100,000 Iranians were believed to have come to Iraq for Ashoura.

                  It appeared other attacks had been planned for Tuesday.

                  In the southern city of Basra, police found a car packed with 550 pounds of explosives with a remote control detonator left at a gas station near the path of a Shiite Ashoura procession, police chief Mohammed al-Ali said Wednesday. The explosives were defused and several people were arrested, though one was later released.

                  Two women were also found apparently planning to set explosives in Shiite mosques, the police chief of Basra's Maqal district said. One was arrested, but the other escaped, perhaps with the explosives, said Brig. Gen. Noori Jaafar al-Fayadh.

                  In Kirkuk, police found and defused a 22-pound bomb alongside a road where Shiites had planned to march Tuesday, said Anwar Amin, the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps chief in Kirkuk.

                  In Najaf, police arrested two people carrying explosives near the Imam Ali shrine, police Col. Saeed al-Joubri said Wednesday.

                  Japan's Foreign Ministry on Wednesday urged Japanese nationals to leave Iraq, warning that "the possibility that Japanese nationals and facilities could also be targeted can't be ruled out" amid the rash of suicide bombing across Iraq this year. Some 230 Japanese troops are based near the southern town of Samawah, and more are due to arrive.

                  A firm number of dead was difficult to reach, particularly in Karbala — in part because some were taken elsewhere, said the city's hospital director Hassan Nasrallah.

                  Karbala health department director Salih al-Hasnawi said 98 were confirmed dead, but predicted that figure would likely rise because there were 12 bags of human remains. He also said a quarter of the 230 wounded were in severe condition.

                  "Some died post operation, some will not survive," al-Hasnawi said.

                  Iraqi Health Minister Khudyar Abbas in Baghdad, however, put the Kazimiya death toll at 70 and the Karbala toll at 115 — a total of 185. But the U.S. official said 32 people were killed in Baghdad and 85 at Karbala, for a total of 117.

                  Also Wednesday, U.S. forces said they arrested five Iraqis wanted for attacks against American forces during raids Tuesday in Tikrit; the nearby town of Uja; and Abu Saydah, just north of Baqouba.

                  An AC-130 gunship fired on men suspected of planting homemade bombs in Zaghiriah, another town near Baqouba, late Tuesday and wounded three of them, one seriously, U.S. Army Maj. Josslyn Aberle said. Two others were captured and taken in for questioning.

                  __
                  Norman Chad, syndicated columnist: “Sports radio, reflecting our sinking culture, spends entire days advising managers and coaches, berating managers and coaches, firing managers and coaches and searching the countryside for better middle relievers. If they just redirected their energy toward, say, crosswalk-signal maintenance, America would be 2 percent more livable.”

                  "The best argument against democracy," someone (Churchill?) said, "is a five minute conversation with the average voter."

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    I guess one could also say: "First Germany, then Japan."

                    Given the fact that Iraq is just about to pass their first constitution, I think it might be a tad premature to go ahead doom this process to failure.

                    Thanks
                    "You can't handle my opinions." Moedrabowsky

                    Jeffro is a hell of a good man.

                    "A liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel." - Robert Frost

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Originally posted by FAR52@Mar 3 2004, 08:54 AM
                      I guess one could also say: "First Germany, then Japan."

                      Given the fact that Iraq is just about to pass their first constitution, I think it might be a tad premature to go ahead doom this process to failure.

                      Thanks
                      apples and oranges
                      Are you on the list?

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Originally posted by nick2@Mar 3 2004, 07:56 AM
                        Anyone notice the deafening "silence" of the Bush apolologists? :o
                        Weel, we sure knew the Saddam apologists would be out in full force with even an inkling of trouble.

                        Good Job nick2
                        Un-Official Sponsor of Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Originally posted by SLUBLUE+Mar 3 2004, 09:02 AM-->
                          QUOTE(SLUBLUE @ Mar 3 2004, 09:02 AM)

                        • #15
                          Originally posted by lazydaze+Mar 3 2004, 09:02 AM-->
                          QUOTE(lazydaze @ Mar 3 2004, 09:02 AM)
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